Unlike bigger businesses, SMBs have a limited pool of resources to draw from. It is therefore critical that they simplify and streamline their workflow and operations. When it comes to managing supply chain finances, including facilitating payments for services rendered, the digital revolution has been a real boon.
Digital wallets are increasingly becoming an indispensable part of the commercial ecosystem, as they speed up the transaction process and appeal to clients and customers alike. The mobile avatar of the digital wallet is especially appealing to customers; the easier the payment method, the more likely the customer is to use it, and to frequent businesses that offer such options.
More mobiles, more mobile wallets
Mobile penetration is rising rapidly in India. There are already 160 million smartphone users in the country, with this number growing at an annual compounded rate of 23 per cent. Experts predict that by 2017, India will have the second largest number of smartphone users in the world (after China).
An increasingly ‘mobile’ population, with significantly higher disposable incomes than ever before, is a potent customer base in the making. SMBs stand to gain immeasurably from these developments.
Mobile wallets are ‘app’ening
App-based sales are also growing in leaps and bounds in India. When it comes to e-commerce transactions, 41 per cent are conducted via mobile phone, making India the only country in the world to use this method of payment in such numbers.
If SMBs choose to ride the ‘m-commerce’ (mobile commerce) wave, they can harness the appeal of this mode of transaction, and cultivate a rapidly expanding customer base. Visa is piloting an app-only service in India, which is going to serve as its test market.
If it succeeds here, it has the potential to succeed anywhere. Visa’s app—called mPesa—will replace all POSs (physical points of sales), making the mobile the transaction platform. This will save merchants the trouble of buying and installing a cash payment device.
Mobile wallet as customer retention tool
Once you’re in a customer’s phone, you’re embedded in their everyday lives. This makes it easy to customise offers and to engage in targeted advertising at no additional cost to you. Going back to the introductory paragraph, saving money on promotion and customer-retention is a great way to utilise resources that are customer-friendly and cost-effective.
Easy does it
If you decide to use this facility, remember to KISS (keep it simple stupid). Customers perfectly embody the adage ‘once bitten, twice shy.’ If your customer has a bad initial payment experience with your service, you’re not going to get a second chance. When considering a third party payment platform, do your research. Paypal, an American transaction platform, has introduced One Touch mobile payments.
This app allows users to make payments across multiple portals with just the tap of a button, and eliminates the need to re-enter personal financial information for each new purchase. Going the mobile payment route can give you a fighting chance when it comes to staking a claim to the Indian consumer’s heart, and wallet.